New Pillows and Old Chairs

After my c-section, we had to get a little creative with our furniture so I could hold Libby and still support myself when sitting. On the couch, we added a couple of Euro pillows which have made it much easier to prop myself up straight and do all the necessary baby things. Like nursing. And cuddling. And burping. And did I mention cuddling?

I had these 25″ pillow forms from Ikea stored away in a closet. We used just the bare forms for a few weeks before I decided to stop playing with fire (aka baby spit-up) and sew some covers for them. The green stripe fabric is from Ikea – it had a former life as a table runner in our kitchen. I didn’t have enough for both sides of the pillows, so the backs are made from a tan drop cloth.

Green Stripe Pillows

I sewed these envelope-style pillow covers in an afternoon with the same method I used in this tutorial. I’m happy with how they turned out – the green and white stripe is so very springy!

Green Stripe Pillow

I also wanted to share one other recent change to our living room. My mom is in the process of downsizing and passed along these awesome midcentury chairs to us. They were originally my grandparents’ and I think it’s neat that they’ve been in three generations’ homes so far.

Gma Chairs

Maybe Libby will want them one day!

Midcentury Chair

Have you made any spring updates lately?

Posted in Furniture, Home Decor, living room | 4 Comments

DIY Changing Pad Covers

As I was putting together Libby’s nursery, I sewed two changing pad covers for her dresser. One was light pink and the other was a coral color – both fabrics were Kona solids from JoAnn. I used this tutorial which calls for one piece of 48″x32″ fabric and a yard of elastic, and the process seriously could not have been easier.

Pink changing pad Coral changing pad

The only problem? Around here, we’ve been known to dirty up both covers in one day. (Ah, the joys of parenthood!)

Yesterday I dug through my fabric stash while a certain someone was napping and whipped up three more covers.

Floral changing pad
{Wildwood by Erin McMorris from Fabric.com}

Mint changing pad
{Mint cotton from a friend – I believe from JoAnn}

L on changing table
{white pinstripe cotton from Hobby Lobby}

As you can see, our cutie pie woke up just in time to try out cover number three. I think she approves!

L close-up

Posted in Babies, nursery | 8 Comments

42 Weeks – Libby’s Here!

We are officially parents of an 11-day-old little girl!  Libby was born last Saturday after 18 hours of labor and a C-Section. It wasn’t the birth experience I would have chosen, but the saying that your labor doesn’t matter after seeing your sweet baby’s face is 100% true.

Heard Fam of 2
{our last photo as a family of two}

Heard Fam of 3
{our first photo as a family of three}

42 Weeks
{taking my last “maternity” photo – 42 weeks!}

Libby 1 Week
{Libby’s 1 Week photo}

We are so happy she’s finally here and are (amazingly) getting pretty good sleep most nights. We’re changing diapers like they’re going out of style, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. We love our Libby Girl!

Posted in Babies, My Pregnancy | 24 Comments

Adventures in Almost-House Buying: Part 3: Our Almost-Bedrooms

The bedrooms and closets in our Almost-House were significantly smaller than our current rooms, but we were excited about the opportunity to pare down our belongings and make these two rooms cozy.

(These are the front two bedrooms of the original house. The large den at the back was a late-70s addition that technically counted as the third bedroom.)

Right LR Wall
{living room wall to the right of the entryway}

Doorway to Hall
{the doorway to the hall with nursery, water heater, full bath, and master bedroom}

Nursery
{the nursery at the end of the hall}

Nursery Closet
{looking back towards the hallway from the nursery}

Our plan for the nursery was easy because we just finished decorating one! After tearing out the cheap paneling and re-drywalling, we’d basically reproduce Libby’s room, adjusting the layout as necessary.

Nursery Left Side

Nursery Right Side

Reading Corner

The master bedroom was a different story. Since most of our current bedroom furniture is bulky and dark, we saw this as an opportunity to ditch our bedroom suite and start fresh.

Master Bedroom
{the master bedroom at the front of the house}

Master Bedroom Closet
{looking back towards the hallway from the master bedroom}

The plan for this room started with the gray velvet upholstered bed, white walls and white bedding. Our bed would sit in front of the window on the left side of the room, so I’d be on the hunt for a fun curtain fabric to use as color scheme inspiration. This moodboard is more of a dream moodboard than something we’d make a reality (we don’t own anything in this image), but it was fun to play around with completely new furniture, accessories and colors.

Almost-Bedroom Plan

Bed: Target
Nightstands: Zinc Door (pricey!)
Lamps: 1stDibs (inspiration)
Dresser: Crate & Barrel
Fabric: Bloomingdales (inspired by a shower curtain)
Pendant: West Elm
Art: YellowBrickHome and The Animal Print Shop

Cute, fun, and a taste of spring! Exactly what we need in the middle of this never-ending winter. What do you think?

Next time: Part 4: Our Almost-Kitchen and Dining Room

Posted in Home Decor, Our Almost-House | 5 Comments

Adventures in Almost-House Buying: Part 2: Our Almost-Living Room

One of the things we loved most about our Almost-House was the layout. With a modest-sized living room at the front of the house and a large den-like addition at the back, we were dreaming of having a true front living room solely dedicated to reading, conversation, and watching the neighborhood from the big picture window facing the street.

Entryway
{the entryway}

Right LR Wall
{the living room wall on the right}

Left LR Wall
{the living room extending to the left}

This would be a room with nice furniture and no TV. A place to unwind. With that in mind, our plans for this room centered around a new leather couch and moody paint color.

Almost-Living Room Plan

When I made this moodboard, I focused on using as much of our current furniture and accessories as possible. The only new purchases would be the leather couch, coffee table, and paint. I’d put the sofa on the wall facing the picture window and replace the light fixture with our DIY pendant light. The two vintage chairs would face the sofa with a large area rug centered in the room.

The colors are a little more masculine than our current living room, but I’ve been leaning towards this style more and more lately, and it’s right up Stephen’s alley.

What do you think?

Leather sofa: Wayfair
Chairs: vintage from my grandparents
Rug: West Elm
Curtains: Ikea (may be discontinued)
White end table: vintage
Coffee table: AllModern (we would look for something vintage)
Map: Schoolhouse Electric
Paint: Valspar’s Gray Silt
Lighting: our DIY pendant (inspired by Anthropologie)

Next time: Part 3: Our Almost-Bedrooms

P.S. Check out Part 1 of our Adventures in Almost-House Buying here.

Posted in Home Decor, Our Almost-House | 5 Comments

Today is my due date! (40 Weeks)

It’s hard to believe I’ve been pregnant for 40 weeks, but it’s true! (I honestly never thought we’d make it to the 40 week photo below!)

Week 38 Week 40

At my 35 week appointment, we were told that our little girl was coming early. Obviously that prediction was wrong, but it was enough to make us pack the bags, install the carseat, finish the nursery, and check all those other pesky to-dos off our list.

Now, five weeks later, we’re (not so) patiently waiting on little Libby to make her debut. Looks like we may be having a March baby after all!

We’ll be sure to share the big news when it happens, but in the meantime, I’ll be posting Part 2 of our Almost-House Buying adventures tomorrow. Have a great weekend!

Posted in Babies, My Pregnancy | Leave a comment

Adventures in Almost House-Buying: Part 1

Pregnancy must make you a little bit crazy.

That’s really the only explanation I have for the events of the past couple of weeks. It all started when Stephen got a new job at a sustainability engineering company downtown. We’ve been itching to move to the historic downtown area of Fayetteville since we both came to college here 10 years ago. Our home now is close, but it’s still a 10-15 minute drive from the action and we wanted a 10 minute WALK.

In the couple weeks between his old job and the new one, Stephen and I spent a lot of time driving around downtown and scoping out his new neighborhood. On one of those drives last Saturday, we came across a cute little bungalow for sale that we had briefly stalked in the snow a few weeks earlier. The sun was shining and it was finally warm, so we made an appointment to see it that evening.

House Front

The minute we walked through the front door, it was love at first sight. Original hardwood floors and trim, arched doorways, the cutest brass doorknobs I’ve ever seen, a kitchen with potential, a mudroom/laundry room, and 3 beds/2 baths so we wouldn’t be losing living area. The outside needed love, but we could see the diamond in the rough.

Entryway

Doorway to Dining

Left LR Wall

Master Bedroom

Dining

Kitchen

Mudroom Bath

Den

Best of all, at the recently reduced price we could easily purchase this home and retain our current mortgage while we got our house ready to sell. It seemed like a no-brainer, but we wanted to wait to make an offer until Monday when we could talk to our lender. I barely slept Saturday and Sunday, I was so excited!

Monday morning rolled around and I started making phone calls. We were approved for the second mortgage, so we wrote an offer and heard back Tuesday with a verbal counter offer. Within a couple of hours we’d written up a new offer that both sides could agree on, and by Wednesday we were under contract!

Mer on Porch

Being 9 days from my due date at the time, I immediately started calling home inspectors. I wanted to be present at the inspection if possible, and luckily having worked with many inspectors in the area as a realtor paid off. We found a great one willing to come out to the house on a Sunday afternoon, and he even gave us a discount!

On Sunday, we showed up with high hopes that our little diamond would shine. Now, I’ve heard lots of realtors blame inspectors for scaring off buyers, but that was absolutely not the case for us. Our inspector was realistic and practical about the issues that needed to be addressed immediately and those that could wait.

As the three hour appointment wore on, however, the list got longer and longer. We’d need to call out an electrician to inspect the old and new fuse boxes plus and loose wires in the attic, install grounded outlets, and straighten the severely leaning masthead on the roof where the power lines entered the house. The insulation in the attic was pitiful and installed incorrectly and would need to be remedied. The ceiling was not braced properly. There was moisture in the crawlspace which could cause settling and cracks down the road if the lot wasn’t regraded for drainage. We had no idea how old the roof was, but it was old. Many of the windows were letting in moisture and causing trim paint to bubble and peel.

Any one or even all of these things would have been manageable and even expected on a historic home like this one. I grew up in an older home and knew to expect some issues, but the real kicker in this house was the asbestos in the attic and mudroom, and the lead-based paint on every surface inside and lurking under the vinyl siding outside.

With a baby coming any day, we became more and more wary of how carefully we would have to proceed with renovations in order to keep her safe. Those beautiful hardwood floors would have to be refinished professionally so we didn’t accidentally nick the painted baseboards with the sander and send lead dust into the air. Our baby couldn’t play in the flowerbeds in front of the house without a nervous mama hovering to make sure she didn’t eat any paint chips that had flaked off the old siding. Any time we put an anchor in the wall to hang a picture, we’d have to obsessively vacuum (not with the good vacuum!) any dust we created. Almost all of the projects we wanted to tackle inside would have to be handed over to the professionals simply because we could be harming ourselves and our baby if we did them wrong.

That’s a lot of pressure.

So we backed out. We became the gun-shy buyers I dreaded as a realtor. The ones who fell in love and then got scared off when the cost of making a home their dream home got too high. It was disappointing and embarrassing, but it was the right decision for us.

Of course I had spent the previous week using all my nesting energy and making plans. I got on Pinterest and Polyvore and made room layouts and moodboards for how I wanted our new place to look and feel.

Pinterest Plans

Unfortunately I’ll never get to make my plans a reality in that house, but I thought I would share them here over the next few weeks, sprinkled in among tons of baby photos and other Heardmont adventures.

On the upside, coming home to our house Sunday afternoon gave us a new appreciation for how far we’ve come here. I am so grateful for a fairly clean, finished, organized, and most of all SAFE place to live and raise our first child. The new furniture and wall colors we’d been dreaming about for our second home just might find their way into our current place over time, and now that spring is just around the corner, we’re excited about tackling some new projects and adjusting to life as a family of 3 (when this little girl decides to show up!). Stay tuned!

Next time: Part 2: Our Almost-Living Room

Posted in Our Almost-House, Real Estate | Tagged , | 8 Comments

A Great Way to Start the New Year!

I’m back today with an exciting announcement! Our master bathroom just hit the newsstands in the March edition of This Old House Magazine!

Mar14-cover

Before the holidays, I received an email from a This Old House writer, wanting to feature our bath in their Budget Redo column. We emailed back and forth a few times and chatted on the phone for about an hour one afternoon. Now, three months later, we’re in print!

M with This Old House

Stephen and I finally found a copy (or three) in person yesterday at Barnes & Noble. So exciting!

Our Feature in TOH

We’re still really happy with the choices we made in our master bath and glad that we were able to keep the reno costs low.

Thanks to This Old House for the feature!

Posted in Before and After, Featured, master bath | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

Easy Burp Cloth Tutorial

It was cold and gross here this weekend, so while we were stuck inside, I made it my mission to find a use for some of my old fabric scraps. We’re pretty much set when it comes to clothes and blankets for baby Libby, but something we definitely didn’t have enough of was burp cloths.

I decided to sew a few, but the process turned out to be so quick and fun that “a few” burp cloths quickly turned into a dozen! I snapped a few photos to share, so here’s a quick tutorial if you’re stuck inside and get the urge to sew pretty baby things this winter.

Easy Burp Cloths

The finished burp cloths are thick cotton on one side and soft flannel on the other and measure about 9″ x 19″. I had two 40″ x 40″ pieces of flannel on hand, so each yielded eight burp cloths.

I started by cutting a piece of flannel to 10″ x 20″ and a coordinating piece of cotton to the same dimensions. Then I pinned the two pieces, right sides together.

Pinned

Next I sewed around the edges, using about a 1/2″ seam allowance and leaving a 3-4″ gap along one edge.

Leave a Gap

I clipped the corners (see photo above) to make the finished corners a bit sharper and turned that bad boy right side out.

Turned

Next up, a quick press with the iron to make those edges really sharp. This is where you should make sure the edges of the hole you used to turn the piece right side out are folded in and ironed nice and straight.

Ironed

The last step (see, I told you these were quick!) was to topstitch about 1/4″ from the edge all the way around the cloth.

Topstitch Edges

Here’s how this one turned out!

Cotton Side

Since half of my flannel was pink and all of my cotton had some shade of pink in it, I just used pink thread for all of the burp cloths.

Cotton Corner

Here’s the flannel side. I like that the flannel makes the burp cloth a bit more substantial and will help keep the cloths from falling off our shoulders. Of course, I haven’t tried these yet with a spitty baby, so I may be wishing they were thicker, but I made so many I figure I’ll just double them up if necessary.

Flannel Side

Super easy, right?

Flannel Corner

This is a great way to use up any cotton scraps you might have lying around, and a little flannel goes a long way. Now to find an empty drawer to stash these guys before the baby comes!

Easy Burp Cloths

Happy sewing!

Posted in Babies, Crafts, tutorial | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Adding Blue to the Master Bedroom

The master bedroom. If there was an award at Heardmont for most-tweaked room in the house, this one would win it.

Last time you saw this room, it looked something like this. If you’ve been paying attention lately, you probably noticed we borrowed quite a few accessories from this room for the nursery

Master Bedroom

… namely, those gold curtains and the pink and gold art on the wall. Since we were in the market for new curtains, we decided to switch up the color scheme a bit while we were at it. Here’s how our room is looking these days!

Master Bedroom with Blue

The bedding, furniture and lamps haven’t changed, but we brought in new window treatments (easy curtain panels I sewed from Hobby Lobby fabric), and switched up the art above the bed.

New Curtains and Art

Nightstand

I have to say, I’m liking the blue! Maybe we’ll stick with this look for longer than a few months this time.

Master Bed

Just for fun, here’s proof that we’re a bit indecisive when it comes to this room.

With our old comforter, curtains and lamps:

Light Blue Bed

After a trip to Ikea:

Gray and Yellow Bed

When the off-center window started to bug me:

Curtains from Left

When the gray started to feel too dark:

Master Bedroom

And now, after we snagged the curtains and art for the nursery:

Master Bed

And for even more fun, here’s a #preggoselfie I took today. I look like I’m trying to smuggle a basketball out of our bedroom. About 3 weeks to go!

Preggo Selfie

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Posted in Before and After, master bedroom | 6 Comments